Trump names new trade ad­viser


Trump will never again sac­ri­fice the US econ­omy on the al­tar of for­eign pol­icy.”

US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump named Peter Navarro, an econ­o­mist who has urged a hard line on trade with China, to head a newly formed White House Na­tional Trade Coun­cil, the tran­si­tion team said on Wed­nes­day.

The nom­i­na­tion is seen by Chi­nese ex­perts as a pre­lude for a po­ten­tial slow­down in US for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in China.

Navarro may per­suade Amer­i­can com­pa­nies to slow down their in­vest­ment in China by of­fer­ing them more at­trac­tive terms to make do­mes­tic in­vest­ment, said Chai Yongzhi, a re­searcher at the Bei­jing-based China Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Trade.

Navarro, an aca­demic and one-time in­vest­ment ad­viser, has au­thored a num­ber of pop­u­lar books and made a film de­scrib­ing China’s “threat” to the US econ­omy.

Trump’s team de­scribed Navarro in a state­ment as a “vi­sion­ary” econ­o­mist who would “de­velop trade poli­cies that shrink our trade deficit, ex­pand our growth, and help stop the ex­o­dus of jobs from our shores”.

Trump made trade a cen­ter­piece of his presidential cam­paign and railed against what he said were bad deals the US had made with other coun­tries. He has threat­ened to hit Mex­ico and China with high tar­iffs once he takes of­fice on Jan 20.

Navarro, 67, is a pro­fes­sor at Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, and ad­vised Trump dur­ing the cam­paign.

Few other economists have en­dorsed Navarro’s ideas.

Mar­cus Noland, an econ­o­mist at the Peter­son In­sti­tute for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomics, likened a tax and trade pa­per co-au­thored by Navarro to “the type of mag­i­cal think­ing best re­served for fic­tional re­al­i­ties” for what he said was its flawed eco­nomic anal­y­sis.

Navarro has also sug­gested a stepped-up engagement with Tai­wan, in­clud­ing as­sis­tance with a sub­ma­rine devel­op­ment pro­gram.

The For­eign Min­istry urged US pres­i­dent- elect Don­ald Trump on Dec 13 to act pru­dently on the Tai­wan ques­tion to avoid “se­ri­ous dam­age to the Sino-US re­la­tion­ship”.

In an opin­ion piece in For­eign Pol­icy mag­a­zine in Novem­ber, Navarro and an­other Trump ad­viser, Alexan­der Gray, re­it­er­ated the pres­i­dent-elect’s op­po­si­tion to ma­jor trade deals, in­clud­ing the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship.

“Trump will never again sac­ri­fice the US econ­omy on the al­tar of for­eign pol­icy by en­ter­ing into bad trade deals like the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, al­low­ing China into the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion and pass­ing the pro­posed TPP,” Navarro and Gray wrote. “These deals only weaken our man­u­fac­tur­ing base and abil­ity to de­fend our­selves and our al­lies.”

Trump has vowed to pull the United States out of the TPP, a free-trade pact aimed at link­ing a dozen Pa­cific Rim na­tions that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama signed in Fe­bru­ary. It has not been rat­i­fied by the US Se­nate.

The pres­i­dent-elect has also vowed to rene­go­ti­ate the NAFTA pact with Canada and Mex­ico, say­ing it had cost Amer­i­can jobs.

Chai said with Nava­roo’s nom­i­na­tion, it won’t be easy for China to gain mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus stip­u­lated by the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion any time soon.

“At the same time, China needs to ur­gently boost its econ­omy un­der the cur­rent econ­omy set­ting,” Chai said.

Zhong Nan in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this story.

Peter Navarro, newly named head of White House Na­tional Trade Coun­cil

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